Iran slams Google for leaving Gulf nameless

Iran on Saturday criticised Google for leaving the body of water separating it from the Arabian peninsula nameless on its online map service, saying it would hurt the Internet giant's credibility.

"Google fabricating lies... will not have any outcome but for its users to lose trust in the data the company provides," a deputy in Culture and Islamic Guidance Ministry, Bahman Dorri, told the official IRNA news agency.

Iran insists on calling the waterway the "Persian Gulf," while the Arab countries of the oil-rich region insist on the term "Arabian Gulf" or simply "the Gulf."

Iranians say historical evidence shows the water has always been "Persian," and that the Gulf's identity is part of Iran's territorial integrity.

"The enemies cannot hide facts and evidence about the Persian Gulf," Dorri said. "Documents in the UN and the UNESCO show the name of this body of water has always been 'Persian Gulf' since a long time ago."

"The efforts of (global) arrogance and its Arab allies to remove the name of Persian Gulf will result in its name becoming more durable," he added in a reference to the United States.

Tehran has constantly criticised countries and institutions which do not call it the "Persian Gulf." In 2010, it warned that airlines using the term "Arabian Gulf" on in-flight monitors would be barred from Iranian airspace.

The simmering dispute also resulted in the cancellation of sports events by the Riyadh-based Islamic Solidarity Sports Federation in early 2010, after Iran used the term "Persian Gulf" on medals for the event it was seeking to host.

Another point of contention between the Islamic republic and its southern Arab neighbours is the group of three barren islands in the Gulf over which both Iran and the United Arab Emirates claim territorial sovereignty.

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